The kids finished school with a half day on Thursday, and as a teacher I finished yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Now that we are no longer distracted with work and school…we are able to really get into the spirit of our first Yuletide at Green Grove.
We begin our celebration today with the traditional Yule, focusing on the return of the sun as lengthening days make us begin to think of spring…and the gardens…seed catalogues began arriving yesterday. Then we go all out for a traditional Christmas with everything from stockings hung, the amazing story of the baby born in a manger, and all the traditional hymns & carols, not to mention Grandma’s white fruitcake and plum pudding. We are having an open house the weekend between Christmas and New Years to share our blessings and welcome friends of longstanding as well as those we’ve recently met.
We will keep the lights and candles burning until at least Epiphany…sometimes until Candlemas/Imbolc arrives. For New Years, we typically stay home and play cards and board games and toast the year in with some champagne, then burn a bayberry candle for health, wealth, and abundance and of course eat a big pork dinner on New Year’s Day. Yes, we love these midwinter excuses to celebrate and milk them for all we can.
We’ve nearly finished decorating the outside of the house. Today we will add the wreathes to the doors and a few finishing touches to the gates and deck. Oh yes, we need to finish making luminaries for the walk and deck rail too. There is plenty of baking to be done as well. We will cut our tree on Christmas Eve morning and decorate it that evening.
I’m thinking a photo journal type post may come later in the week if my photographer (aka husband) can keep up with me.
We are underway with wrapping gifts, The Dancer has really come into her own as a gift wrapper. She even did a neighbor’s for pay. So far she hasn’t presented me with a bill…perhaps the spirit of the season will prevail. I want to garland the chandeliers with pine and crows foot.
There appears to be a holly shortage, no florists in the region can get much, and what they have, they aren’t selling. I am thinking I may use the barberries that are abundant in the woods to add some red. Orange and apple slices are drying in the dehydrator as they are one of my favorite natural decorating accents.
I have been looking at holly varieties for planting come spring as I can hardly bear the thought of a holly-less Yule/Christmas. If any of you have favorite varieties that do well in WV I’m happy to take any and all suggestions into consideration.
I’m also looking forward to some days to read and knit by the fire, I have a huge stack of books and magazines to catch up with. I have the fabric to make new curtains for our bedroom….perhaps this break or perhaps I will hold out in hope of a snow day or two in January or February.
Then there’s also some time left in doe season….so there will be hunting and of course there are some other small game and predators that are in season. In fact my middle son, The Hunter, is heading out early today which id why I’m typing this at 5 am his ride is to be here any minute. I’ve learned that they actually make winter camo … for in the snowy woods.
The Weaver is demoing his craft at a the Lost River Trading Post today. He’s completed his orders for Dec 25th but has a few that are due in early January to finish up. Had you known him a few years ago you would understand how exciting it is that he has remained focused and diligent in building his Backwoods Weaving business. We are cautiously optimistic that he’ll actually turn a profit next year.
And so as we commence our celebrations and carry on old traditions and form new ones, we continue to love, live, and grow here at Green Grove.
I leave you with these words of Ralph Blane:
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.”